Proposed e-cigarette regulations not sitting well with retailers

Aug 18, 2014

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is calling on the Food and Drug Administration to strengthen proposed regulations of electronic cigarettes. WBFO’s Ashley Hirtzel spoke with the owner of several e-cigarette stores in the state about how the proposals would affect his business.

Schneiderman recently joined A.G.s from 29 other states by writing a letter to the FDA calling for a ban on all flavored electronic cigarettes, other than traditional tobacco and menthol flavors. They say the goal is to protect young people getting addicted to nicotine. There are more than 7,000 flavors currently available such as cotton candy, cherry and bubble gum. 

Electronic cigarette
Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO

Victor Canastraro, Director of Operations of Perfection Vapes in Depew, says he was appalled to hear of the proposed ban.

“They say that marketing candy flavors are lured towards children or an attempt to engage people under the age of 18. My first thought is did I stop enjoying cotton candy when I turned age 18? Did I no longer want a Reese’s cup when I turned 18?” said Canastraro.

The A.G.s also want a ban on advertising on television, radio and youth-oriented magazines. The FDA submitted a regulatory plan for e-cigarettes back in April with similar guidelines, but Schneiderman says the proposal falls short of “what’s needed to protect youth.”

E-cigarettes contain no tobacco, but they do typically contain nicotine. Canastraro says the A.G.s are ignoring the positive benefits e-cigarettes have had on people who want to quit smoking.

“I’ve got a client in his Buffalo store, his mother smoked for 50+ years and she had emphysema. She came in and she was literally crying, because she couldn’t believe it. The little device that you blow the ball up and is the determination of your lung capacity. She wasn’t even able to raise the ball to the first bar on the device. After only one year of vaping and putting down cigarettes mind you she was able to blow the ball all the way to the top of the device,” said Canastraro.       

Canastraro says the proposed restrictions have caused him to completely change his business model. He has planned on expanding at a rate of three stores per year. But he says he is now re-thinking those plans.